A bilingual children's book telling the story of Mauao has been named a finalist in the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Ko Mauao te Maunga: Legend of Mauao is the sixth bilingual book for children by Tauranga author and indie publisher Debbie McCauley and illustrator Debbie Tipuna.
A legend of heartbreak and compassion, the story of the sacred mountain reveals the connections between Māori myth, landscape and history.
In 2015 McCauley won the best non-fiction category in the Elsie Locke Non-Fiction Award for her book Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill: A Story from the Rena Disaster.
Tipuna has illustrated several books for children in her lively, vibrant style and finds much of her artistic inspiration at the Opopoti Marae, a short walk from her home.
But the pair did not bring this book together alone and the text was translated to Māori by Tamati Waaka (Ngāti Pūkeko, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Tūhoe).
Waaka, a certified interpreter and translator, has a background in Māori radio, television and kapa haka.
That team included designer Sarah Elworthy and kaumātua of Ngāi Tamarāwaho hapū, Des Tata.
Ko Mauao te Maunga: Legend of Mauao went beyond storytelling and includes a glossary and pronunciation guide, Mauao facts, a Mauao timeline, maps, important places on Mauao, activities for children, karakia, waiata and whakatauki.
The concept of creating a picture book for children started in 2012 when McCauley wrote a version to use during school visits to the library.
It has been supported by kaumātua from Tauranga Moana iwi; Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Pūkenga.
Awards in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are made in six categories: picture book, junior fiction, young adult fiction, non-fiction, illustration, and te reo Māori.